Philosophy

Department of Philosophy
Chairs
Department Information
4086-A JFSB
801-422-5824
Advisement Center
1175 JFSB
801-422-4789
humanities-advisement@byu.edu
Programs

Admission to Degree Program

All degree programs in the Department of Philosophy are open enrollment until the end of a student's sophomore year (60 credit hours), after which permission to add a minor or double major, or to change an existing major/minor must be obtained from the advisement centers of both the current major and the new major. To declare a philosophy major or minor prior to the end of a student's sophomore year, please contact or visit the College of Humanities Advisement Center (students do not need permission from the department chairperson to add or change a philosophy major or minor).

The Discipline

From its inception in ancient Greece down to the present, philosophy has sought to examine and understand life in all its wondrous complexity. In seeking answers to enduring questions about good and evil, the nature of the real, the limits of the knowable, and the enduring power of the beautiful, philosophy discloses its faith in the ability of reason to discover and communicate truth. Philosophy's correlative respect for the authority of logic and rational argument fosters an intellectual environment wherein open dialogue is essential and conflicting opinions are respected, but in which beliefs are carefully subjected to scrutiny, claims and criticisms to validation, and actions to the guiding lights of truth, goodness, and wisdom.

Students who study philosophy will find the discipline not only provides them invaluable insights into life's deepest concerns and questions, but also helps them develop an increased capacity for critical thought, perceptive judgment, and cogent argumentation. These benefits should prove invaluable for years to come in applications as diverse as raising a family, pursuing higher education, developing a career, and striving for spiritual enlightenment.

Career Opportunities

Philosophy offers excellent preparation for a variety of career paths, but especially in law, medicine,  business, and the health sciences. The value of a major or minor in philosophy resides in the intellectual development it promotes and the transferable skills it nourishes. Philosophy majors perennially top the charts in standardized exams like the GRE, LSAT, and MCAT, especially on the verbal aptitude and analytic thinking sections. Partly because of those high scores, but also because the discipline is so rigorous, philosophy students generally enjoy extremely high rates of acceptance to graduate programs and professional schools--regardless of the discipline. And with increasing frequency, studies show that philosophy majors who pursue business and other non-academic careers are often out-earning their non-philosophy colleagues by mid-career. No doubt, this is because philosophy students master the logic, reading, writing, and critical thinking skills that such pursuits so often require. In short, philosophy not only prepares students for a rewarding life, but for any type of work that requires highly developed abilities in analytical reasoning and effective communication.

General Information

The Department of Philosophy strongly recommends that philosophy majors double-major in another field to help them complete the 120 hours required for graduation and to help prepare them for the job market. We also recommend that they consider taking StDev 317 and HColl 110. Because all liberal arts degrees provide preparation in a variety of useful fields rather than a single career track, StDev 317 is recommended to help liberal arts students focus on specific educational and occupational goals and to introduce them to graduate/professional school and employment preparation strategies, internships, available educational opportunities, and a variety of career options. HColl 110 introduces students to the culture and academic landscape of the humanities, and teaches them how to market and employ their liberal arts education in today's challenging work environment.

Philosophy students are also encouraged both to complete one of the many internships supported and funded by the College of Humanities (regardless of individual career goals), to learn a foreign language, and if finances allow, to study abroad for a semester.

Graduation Requirements

To receive a BYU bachelor's degree a student must complete, in addition to all requirements for a specific major, the following university requirements:

  • The University Core, consisting of requirements in general and religious education. (For a complete listing of courses that meet university core requirements, see here.)
  • At least 30 credit hours must be earned in residence on the BYU campus in Provo as an admitted day student
  • A minimum of 120 credit hours
  • A cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • Be in good standing with the Honor Code Office

Students should see their college advisement center for help or information concerning the undergraduate programs.